Aug 25, 2011

In the Heat of the Moment

Hello Everyone!

I hope this very hot summer is finding you all doing well; creating, and staying somewhat sane with this heat. I have tried, unsuccessfully, several times to get out a new post, but Blogger would not allow my password to go through, and I have no idea why. Blogger has also deleted my posts due to "illegal" fonts or something and would not "save" my posts when I was half way done with them. I have no idea what that means, since I am only using the fonts provided by Blogger. I have started (and almost completed) this post now about five times. It took some doing to get this up again, and I am about to pull my hair out with this server. Hence the opening photo - I feel like I lost my head there for a week or so!  :-)

I have a couple of quick fun updates I want to get out and if you hang in there, I have a creative, (but sort of sick) confession that I will share, but sure to regret later, I am sure....

First I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to CHRISTIE and a friend of her choice who is the winner of the free pass giveaway, plus hotel to the Creative Connection Event. Click on Christie's name above to read more about this interesting winner!  

Christie - The Winner of TCC Event passes plus hotel!

As I have mentioned before, I am attending The Creative Connection Event next month, and I am very excited to attend. The more I learn about the wonderful classes the more I can't wait. Although I will be helping out most of the event, I will try to take in a class here and there. Hopefully a photography class or something in publishing.

But what I found out that is super cool?

All of the cooking classes! Not only are there cooking events, but there are cooking classes at the Cooks of Crocus Hill site, a fabulous and very prestigious cooking school in St. Paul. Cristina Ferrare, Diane Cu & Todd Porter, Carolyn Robb & Sarah Champier, and Terry Walters are experts in turning their passion of cooking and food into careers and will be sharing how they did that at the event. To have these professional ladies, who have been there, done that, share their adventures and experiences, is something I am looking forward to hearing and learning a lot from.

And once again, Jo Packham, the co-founder of The Creative Connection Event is offering us creative women a way to hear these fabulous professionals with us being down to the last 25 days to the big event!

Visit The Creative Connection Event Blog for the details. The rules are SUPER SIMPLE and the rewards are great! 25 days, 25 winners, who will get 25% off when they register. 

Click HERE to go to link for information about registration.

Okay, my good friends. I have been super, super busy and very tired! I have had a very exciting and fun job these past couple of months. I was offered a fabulous (but very challenging) to shoot a book! At this point, I am not sure what I am allowed to share with you, as the publishers haven't told me yet, but I will get some information and as soon as I get the "okay" I will be happy to share.

But the book is about a quilt designer and I was hired to scout a location, style the entire shoot, and photograph ten quilts, the cover, the double spread shots, the opening page shots, and all the detail shots. I really LOVED this assignment! The quilts were to have an "environment" and "be very different" and not traditional. Luckily I did not have to do, what I call, the "clinical shots" of just a flat shot of the quilts. Those were being done by the publisher in their studio. I got to do all the beauty shots and location - which is extremely hard when working with quilts, but I loved that the publishers trusted me with my ideas and styling.

So, back in May is when I had to scout a location and shoot the cover and a few detail shots. I have never worked with this publisher before and so I working blindly, so to speak. So, after many, many days of scouting, and even sending out a mass email to friends about finding a place, I happened upon a place purely by accident.

Visiting a friend's store (I will provide all details, when I get more photos to really be able to share), the owner's husband happened to mention the abandoned space above the store, and I was running out of time, and Ta Da!  A VERY run down, awful, but beautiful "set" awaited me! I was in heaven!! So much light! Giant windows! Cracked wallpaper! Dirty floors! Heaven!  Below are my scouting shots of some of the rooms...

I rented a U-haul, my barber husband and I hauled props and furniture above, I took hostage many props from good friends, generous store owners, and went to work. The publisher was thrilled with my first disc of photos and I spent hours and hours, day after day, designing areas, moving furniture and downloading photos and learning new programs to meet their specifications.

Believe it or not, I am really making this very long story short to get to what I want to say just for today...

Then the shoot was delayed....May went by....June went by....July went by....and so guess what? I get to now shoot at the end of July and into August....can we say HEAT in triple digits??? The abandoned place had no electricity and it being on the top floor it was at least 120 degrees on some days!  My dream location, my heaven on earth, is now H-E-L-LLLLL!

Well, I delayed shooting an entire seven days because it was just impossible with the heat wave. But, I had a deadline, and so I HAD to get some shooting done. So, for the last three weeks, that is what I have been doing and nothing else. If you ever want to test your age or stamina, go do something in the heat for hours on will feel OLD!  And after a while, you start to do things like talk to yourself, have a shitfit when you realize you left something in the car and the LAST thing you want to do is walk down a huge flight of stairs, down the street, go get it, and then back again, and chance tripping over the long, long extension cord I had running down the stairs into the store. You soon realize that equipment doesn't like heat very much either must remain somewhat cool as well. 

Gatorade - drank 1 large bottle an hour at least!

I had a few fans, but they did very little to help, except to blow hot air on me. I wore a cut-off t-shirt sleeve on my head, and dipped in ice-water from the cooler I brought and wrapped it on my head to prevent heat stroke. But it was this one particular day, a day of extreme labor, that I think all the fans in the world and ice-watered, and a t-shirt sleeved-wrapped head, didn't save me from what I now realize was a day that the heat got to me.

I had been avoiding using a particular room because the windows were nailed shut, but I knew this room would be good for a huge double spread shot - a sewing scene with lots of mannequins, a huge work table, an ironing board, and all sorts of goodies and props. I bit the bullet, and decided to go for it (which by the way, the publishers loved the photo, thank God), and I had to clean out the room for there were some gross stuff on the floor. 

I was very hot, very tired, and decided to clean, set up the scene and come back the next day and shoot. During all these weeks, I took "behind the scenes photos" for my dear readers, as I know you like to see what "really" took place in addition to all the "pretty shots." So below is what I started to sweep:

As I started to sweep (and this was the "good" corner), I notice something you see it?

 That's right! A dead who died of a heat stroke!!

So here I am, kneeling next to this dead bird, taking a photo (so my readers could appreciate all the gross stuff I had to deal with when I can finally show you the "pretty photos"), sweat dripping into my eyes as I lean forward, my knees killing me, stifling HOT in this room, trying not to shake as I lean in and focus on this little, sweet bird, and suddenly it hits me....

.....what am I doing??

.....why in the world am I on my knees like this?

.....what is wrong with me?

I pause, then really think about how crazy this is....because I just realized.....I rented a perfectly WONDERFUL 100mm lens that would allow me to STAND and get GREAT shots! Yes! How crazy am I to kneel, when I can stand without kneeling to get close and grunting like a pig in this heat!! Yes! That is the answer!! I am not joking...this is the you see how sick a person you have been following all these years...are you ready to unclick the "followers" button yet....?

So, I hop up. Go to the next room, change lenses, all excited at how "smart" I am for thinking of this, go back into the blistering hot room, and STAND and get great photos without even having to get CLOSE to the icky thing....I mean...sweet thing....

Below are the photos I quickly snapped, STANDING UP, in the DOORWAY (next to the fan) and while I snap, with the camera to my eye and as I point the camera, I am this is where it really gets bad, as if it isn't bad enough, I think....I wish the lighting was better today...damn clouds....

It wasn't until my long drive home (this location is 1.5 hours away from my house) did I start laughing at myself and my excitement over my lens and my thought process and how others might actually think it was crazy to be taking photos of a dead bird in the first damn place! I can't believe I am telling you this story.  But in my defense...this was at the end of a long, hot day, after about three weeks of long, long days working in the heat, so I really feel the heat got the best of me that day...and I am sticking with that story. 

And I will add, that when I told this story and showed the photos to my friend, Renee (yes, I am outing you, Renee), she laughed and laughed and SHE said: "Oh, only if you had a cloche and covered the bird, and then took the photo to show your readers how sick you really are...." And we both laughed until tears...  And what is even sicker?? I really, really wish I had thought of that!


So, how does one end a post like this with a thoughtful quote or a bit of wisdom? Well, I could say something like:

Creating from the soul and with real passion can bring out pieces of us that we never knew...


Creating from our heart and being true to our soul is not about being honest with not just yourself, but also with others....

or I could tell you what I am really thinking right now...


Hey! You just try kneeling on a hard floor, in 100 degree room, and photograph a dead bird, then you can judge....  :-)

from my house to your house

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